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Background Checks / Employee Screening In Austria

Setting up a business in Austria is an attractive proposition for organizations looking to expand in Europe. Austria ranks 27 out of 190 countries in the Ease of Doing Business Index published by the World Bank and is expected to be 24th by the end of 2023. In addition, the country has a strategic geographical location at the heart of Europe with an infrastructure that attracts international companies to set up business there. 

Moreover, Austria is a hub of opportunities for foreign investors since the country offers robust funding and support measures for startups, R&D, SMEs, and new technologies. Besides, Austria has an unmatched quality of life reflected in the country’s high level of social security and an increasing employment rate. Overall, Austria offers excellent business conditions for both foreign and domestic companies.

However, carrying out business and hiring employees in the European nation entails knowing about the employment background checks in Austria.

What is Employment Background Verification?

Employment background verification is a crucial task that every HR/recruiter must follow. It is a process of screening recruits in an organization by verifying their employment and educational backgrounds, criminal records, financial records, social media activities, etc., for legitimacy. Pre-employment background checks allow companies to hire reliable and trustworthy candidates. In addition, pre-employment screenings during the recruitment process protect the company’s reputation and the work culture by mitigating risks and threats that a fraudulent employee might pose. 

Benefits of Background Checks in Austria

Conducting an employment background check in Austria can be beneficial for your organization. Overall, employment background verification will help you:

  • Make well-informed decisions and appoint qualified candidates
  • Protect the company from potential liability claims
  • Protect organizational assets and maintain a safe work environment
  • Mitigate the risks of negligent recruitment
  • Ensure compliance with local, federal, and industry laws and regulations

Are Background Checks Legal in Austria?

Regardless of where you hire people, falsified information in job applications and resumes is commonplace. Technological advancement makes it practically impossible to identify frauds unless you thoroughly scrutinize every bit of information furnished by a job applicant. 

Employee background checks in Austria are not widespread, even though the law does not impose any restrictions. However, you can keep in mind the following practices and regulations about carrying out an employee background search in Austria:

  • You can only collect and process a candidate’s data if it is essential to make a hiring decision.
  • As per the Austrian privacy laws and regulations, a candidate must consent to collect their data.
  • It is a standard practice for employers to ask for candidates’ criminal record declarations during the application process or on their first day at work. 
  • Criminal and credit record checks are permissible only if necessary for the specific job position.
  • Health checks and inquiries are allowed only if necessary to decide the candidate’s suitability for a position.

According to the Austrian Supreme Court, job interview questions about a candidate’s sexual orientation, membership in any religion or union, and potential pregnancy are invalid. 

Things to Know When Performing a Background Check in Austria

There are many reasons to conduct a pre-employment background check in Austria as an employer. Since fraud and identity thefts are not uncommon in the hiring process, it is essential to verify candidates’ backgrounds before making them a part of the organization. Therefore, employers usually conduct background checks in Austria to corroborate the integrity of prospective employees. 

A pre-employment background check in Austria typically involves the employer assessing the validity of a job applicant’s information in their resume and supporting documents. Thus, a background check helps employers filter out and eliminate candidates with discrepancies in employment history, educational background, credit report, and other personal information. 

An employment background check in Austria seeks to verify the following details before hiring a job applicant:

Employment history

Verifying a candidate’s employment history is one of the most crucial steps of employee screening. This background check aims to confirm whether a candidate’s claim of past work experience is valid. You have to verify the organization of the candidate’s previous employment, the job titles, years of service, reasons for leaving past jobs, etc.

Education history

A pre-employment background check in Austria must verify a prospective employee’s educational background to identify fake certificates and diplomas. You can directly contact the candidate’s educational institutions to validate certifications and degrees earned as a standard practice. The education background search in Austria will ensure that you hire qualified candidates deserving of the job.

Criminal record

As an employer, you are responsible for protecting company assets and maintaining a safe and secure workplace for your employees. Therefore, a criminal background check in Austria is indispensable to ensure that no employee poses a threat to your organization. In Austria, the criminal record certificate (Strafregisterbescheinigung) lists an individual’s registered convictions, if any, whatever the case may be.
Jobs in various sectors require candidates to provide their criminal record certificates at least three months old. The criminal record certificate is available upon applying to the relevant authorities.
Generally, a criminal background check in Austria involves the local level court and is based on the jurisdiction of the concerned city. The criminal background check reveals convictions in the past seven years, including case type, case number, file location, sentencing information, etc.

Credit report

Verifying credit reports during the employee background screening in Austria has its benefits, especially when hiring talent for a bank or an insurance company. A credit report details a person’s credit history, including debts, mortgages, loans, and payment history of debts and loans. 
Verifying prospective employees’ credit reports also ensures their financial responsibilities, money management skills, and loans. Sometimes, employers also use credit reports to verify job applicants’ identities and backgrounds.

Social life

You can also conduct a social intelligence check as part of employee background screening in Austria. Social media background checks involve checking the candidate’s social media accounts, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like. While resumes provide a formal picture of applicants, their social media activities reveal a lot about their personality, how they interact with people, their interests, etc. 
However, you must strictly adhere to Austria’s privacy laws and regulations to avoid tampering with any person’s privacy. Moreover, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) restricts the use of information from the candidate’s social networks if such information has nothing to do with their eligibility for the job position (for instance, sexual orientation or political inclination).

Information Essential for a Background Check in Austria

Running a pre-employment background check in Austria reduces any negative impact on the safety and reputation of the company.

The information required to conduct an employee background check in Austria differs with organizations and the verification checks they run. Below is a general list of details you will need for a standard pre-employment background check in Austria:

  • First and last name
  • Date of birth
  • Last known address
  • Past and current employer name and contact details, dates of employment, positions held, release form.
  • School name, school’s city, major, degree copy, dates of attendance, and release form.
  • Police clearance certificate or criminal record certificate (Strafregisterbescheinigung).
  • Financial records (including loans, payments, credit card debts, delayed payments, and default history).

Process Involved in Background Checks

You need to follow some discrete steps of the employment background check in Austria. However, variations may exist depending on the organization.

1. Frame a written background check policy

Running a successful employment background check in Austria begins with framing a fair and consistent background check policy that is also legally compliant. The policy should chalk out the background check procedure, when it will be carried out, and how it will affect employment decisions. Additionally, a legal counsel must review your background check policy to comply with local and state regulations.

2. Seek candidate’s consent

Austria’s privacy laws and regulations mandate that employers acquire express consent from their employees before collecting data. So, you must ensure that you have the candidate’s permission before you collect and process their personal information for the pre-employment background check in Austria.

3. Collect the information you need

Once you have the candidate’s consent, the next step is to collect the relevant data to run the background check. For an employment background check in Austria, you essentially need information on:

  • Employment history
  • Education details
  • Certificate of criminal record (police clearance certificate)
  • Credit report
  • Social media activities

4. Run the background check

Once you have the candidate’s relevant information, you can run the background check. Your organization’s internal team can carry out the employee screening in Austria. However, you can avoid the hassle and hire a third-party global PEO/EOR service like Multiplier and simplify the process of hiring and onboarding your international employees.

Industries and Situations That Are Most Suitable for Background Checks in Austria

In Austria, employment background checks are not an all-purpose exercise that every industry or sector should follow blindly. As an employer, it is your responsibility to identify the need for background checks in your organization to assist in better hiring decisions.

For instance, you can legally run drug tests and medical checks in Austria only on doctors, train supervisors, and aviators. On the other hand, criminal and credit checks are allowed for bank and insurance company professionals. 

Below is a list of some sectors where employers could significantly benefit from a background check:

  • Financial services 
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation
  • Manufacturing
  • IT
  • Non-profit

You can also resort to the services of a competent and compliant third-party PEO/EOR to help you figure out the right strategy for employee background screening in Austria.

How Does Multiplier Help With Background Checks?

Hiring and onboarding is a long process from advertising job openings and interviewing candidates to running background checks. The process is more daunting if you hire international employees in a foreign country. 

You can hire an accredited third-party service to conduct background checks as an employer since such organizations typically have access to relevant databases and records for reference.

You can also check out Multiplier’s EOR and PEO solutions to employ global talent from anywhere. With Multiplier, you can rest assured that your international employees comply with local laws while you focus on business growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

No law in Austria explicitly prohibits employers from conducting employee background checks. However, it is mandatory to comply with the law, such as privacy laws and regulations.

In Austria, employee background checks largely depend on the industry/sector, and the procedure varies with employers. Generally, a standard employee background check should include verifying a prospective employee’s employment history, educational background, criminal records, credit reports, and social media activities. Employee background checks may also have health checks, drug tests, etc.

There are several ways of obtaining a police clearance certificate or certificate of criminal record in Austria.

  • You can apply at the Federal Police Directorate of Vienna or any mayor’s office throughout Austria.
  • You can appoint a representative in Austria and apply for the criminal record certificate through them.
  • Overseas individuals can apply in person at their nearest embassy or consulate.

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